March 25, 2019

new mountains (GDP landscape)

I drive a lot up and down Interstate 35 between Fort Worth and San Antonio. I don't do it because I hate the environment; I do it because there is no practical train option (train takes 8.5 hours down whereas it takes 4.5 hours to drive) or comprehensive system of public transportation at either end. Our concepts of space and modes of transportation developed differently here than in places limited by land, and the two have gone on to further entrench their styles and drag in auto, oil, political and other industries in an intertwining spiral downward toward environmental upheaval, displacement, and destruction.

In addition to driving a lot I also walk a lot. Despite being one of the largest states physically, Texas is more than 95% privately owned (Texas A&M statistic). A lot of the public parks I go to...are parks because they are unsuitable for building on. I'm not saying this to shit on Texas (and I'm sure the last part is true for a lot of other places). The point is the attitude of "capitalization" of the land by/for humans on such a short term scale of folly.

The majority of the organic non-human world we interact with does not operate on the same time-scale as us--it is infinitely smaller and infinitely larger. Some organisms live for one day, trees live for hundreds of years, the earth shifts over thousands or more, and species evolve toward suitable habitats over millions. As we inadvertently destroy it we are boxing ourselves in in unknown and completely irreversible ways.

Anyway, before I started rambling I was trying to write an introduction to a poem I recently wrote on the way down from Fort Worth.

man-made plateaus climb
each Monday and Thursday
my neighborhood adds its share

     the acrid essence passes
     through the vents
     as I drive
     past all discarded signs
     of a successful, steady economic climb

I came to this shop to try and clear my head and look for new careers but the more I try to integrate in this society I've always felt unfamiliar with the more I just want to leave and be somewhere I'm obviously not a part of.

Posted on March 25, 2019 16:44 by briangooding briangooding | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 09, 2019

move to San Antonio

On Sunday I moved from north central Texas to San Antonio. I just got in iNaturalist on the computer for the first time in a few days and accidentally clicked on and off the message bubble which essentially erased the chance I'd ever see the first 200 messages I'd missed, so if I don't respond to you I'm sorry.

Anyway, I look forward to exploring San Antonio and the different plant and animal life this region hosts compared to DFW. Already the vegetation and curved streets feel a bit more natural to me. I'm also excited to meet some nature enthusiasts in the area and hang out. If that would be you or anyone you know, please let me know.

Hope everyone is having a great 2019.

Brian

Posted on January 09, 2019 22:14 by briangooding briangooding | 5 comments | Leave a comment

April 26, 2018

Del Rio Bioblitz trip

A few weeks ago was the big bioblitz in Del Rio, Texas which I was fortunate enough to go to, as well as being able to spend some time in Austin and San Antonio before and after the trip. It was great to get out, be on the road, and explore a new ecosystem I haven't really seen. It was a little early for peak dragonfly diversity but I saw lots of cool stuff and some interesting odonate parasitism by dipterans which I had not yet seen in person.

As these things can be sometimes, better than seeing whatever was out there, it was fun to see so many different people from all over and hang out and explore together. One trip, in a way facilitated by iNaturalist though otherwise unrelated, was a brief excursion @tadamcochran and I took to Mexico one night after a group dinner. I wrote about it on my blog here, if you would like to check it out.

Thanks to everybody who made the trip out to Del Rio and special thanks to @sambiology for doing the organization/logistics for these things. I look forward to doing more soon.

Posted on April 26, 2018 18:56 by briangooding briangooding | 20 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 14, 2017

observation of behavioral anomalies

Today I stumbled upon an interaction lasting about a minute and a half that I had previously only seen in illustrations and a few photographs.

Similar to the unusual pairing I found earlier this year, it has to do with reproductive behavior and anomalous connections. This time instead of an errant male attempting to create a new hybrid species (or more likely...displaying a deficiency in recognizing his own), a lone male attempted to dislodge a conspecific male from an already-established tandem by adding himself to the mix. Yep, an MMF three-way.

The lone male first flew at the pair that were scouting oviposition sites and bumped into them. He repeated that maneuver with the same lack of results before retreating. He flew back again and I just saw a scuffle, movement I could not make out in the distance, but the three dragonflies flew away in a line, all three connected.

The photos I took do not clearly display the triple connection and I am disappointed about that. In many years of watching dragonflies this is the first time I've witnessed this type of event. I tried to track them and fire off some shots even though I wasn't able to focus quick enough.

I cannot honestly say that I saw the ultimate outcome of this triple connection, which is unfortunate. There were dozens of Tramea lacerata ovipositing and flying in the area and it was hard to keep track. Shortly after I saw them I saw another scuffle and a male and female retreat to the trees while in copula--I cannot say for sure if it was the invading male and the female or just another pair.

I hope to see this again and get some better shots.

Posted on August 14, 2017 04:44 by briangooding briangooding | 1 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment

July 01, 2017

rainy day

It's a rainy day and I was planning on going out to shoot and clear my head today. Instead I'm in my second habitat, coffee shop, browsing old observations from various parts of the world, pleased to have such opportunity.

Posted on July 01, 2017 23:50 by briangooding briangooding | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 01, 2016

Reception for The Odonata of Tarrant County

Hello everybody. This week on Thursday November 3rd from 7-9pm I'm having the reception for The Odonata of Tarrant County educational/informative display I recently put up at Root's Coffeehouse in North Richland Hills, Texas.

If you live nearby or are in the area please feel free to stop by. In addition to the display (which will probably be up thru December), I am going to have some dragonfly work from Asia as well as some of my other photography. I'm also bringing some specimens from my personal insect collection to represent some of the different families, genera and aquatic and terrestrial life stages of dragonflies, for those who may have not seen them up close before.

For those who don't live in North Texas you can see images from the display here (one or two of the crops are a little off in the slideshow but you can get the idea).

Thanks for your support, hope to see some of you there!

Brian

Posted on November 01, 2016 16:36 by briangooding briangooding | 4 comments | Leave a comment

October 01, 2016

The Odonata of Tarrant County

I was recently asked by a local shop to do a display for their art wall. They asked me because previously I had done one that went over pretty well...and I think it's actually harder than you'd expect to find people to put up halfway-cool stuff. My previous display had a large nature component but it was mostly atmospheric scenes featuring plants that were dead or dying during winter.

Why does this have anything to do with iNaturalist?

Good questions.

Well, I just finished hanging the display this evening. It is entirely on Odonata (dragonflies) found in Tarrant County, Texas. Many of the prints are from observations I have posted here and some of the reason I ended up going with this educational/aesthetic display over a "purely artistic" and more abstract display have to do with people I have met here on iNaturalist.

Observing and studying dragonflies has always been a personal, almost meditative hobby of mine but recently I've come to enjoy the educational/outreach aspect of it as I have often witnessed @sambiology while hanging on bioblitzes or other events. Also I recently received some of @scottking's books which are at heart deeply-personal but obviously valuable as shared works. In addition earlier this month I spent some time hanging out with @greglasley, @ericisley and @gpstewart (and others) where I shot a few photos for this display (only dragonflies that co-occur in Tarrant County) and enjoyed getting to know them a bit and hanging out, the initial gateway only being our shared interest in dragonflies.

Though the majority of the work I used was shot before getting into iNaturalist I seriously doubt had I not joined iNaturalist and met many of these people and also come to value spending time in nature enjoying teaching friends' kids about dragonflies, that I would have pursued this as a display topic. But, with inspiration from these people and events, I did, and I am happy with the results.

Anyway, here is an overview of the display and a pre-cursor I wrote on how I became interested in dragonflies, if you are for some reason interested.

I am going to have a reception night for the display in a few weeks. I will post the details for it once I finalize the date. At the reception I'll probably have prints from dragonflies from around the world (mostly Asia, some South America) and some specimens from my collection.

Thanks to all of you for your support and inspiration. I have really enjoyed putting together this display an I look forward to sharing it.

Posted on October 01, 2016 04:52 by briangooding briangooding | 10 observations | 9 comments | Leave a comment

August 16, 2016

iNat projects!

Since I'm "between opportunities" as someone put it (thanks Brent) when introducing me at the FWNC&R BioBlitz, I've had a lot of time to think. Too much time really but that's not really worth elaborating on here. All of this time has been good for me in some ways though as I have gone deeper into what has been a passion of mine for years: dragonflies.

Not being pestered by a job to bolster a sense of purpose, self-worth or money, I've been free to spend the hottest hours at local parks, alone, immersed in the noises of crickets, birds and rustling leaves. It's been very peaceful for the fleeting moments I forget reality and my extreme disconnect with the lifestyles/society here.

Anyway, it's obvious I love watching dragonflies and trying to understand their lives and their interactions with others in their ecosystem. I have chosen some topics that have fascinated me for years but I have only been able to collect small amounts of observational and visual data on. As iNaturalist Projects seem extremely well-suited toward aggregating large amounts of information from various sources, I've made Projects revolving around those topics.

These topics are interesting enough to look at as individual cases even if there is not enough data yet to draw any hypotheses. Another point to note is that only data that is observed will ever show up here (obviously)--species with more secretive or reclusive habits (or that just exist where people with cameras are not) won't be available for analysis. There's no solution to this lack of data in any format, iNat or otherwise, but I wanted to acknowledge it. Still, though this is a makeshift, passive way of acquiring data I believe there can be value in both scientific and non-scientific ways, possibly including outreach.

But...I think that the observations compiled in many of these projects will at least be enough to spark interest in others or bring more attention to dragonflies in their habitats, as they are mostly "action shots" and humans seem to be drawn more to that sort of things (probably since they can relate to eating or fighting with other humans much more than standing still for nice lateral shots (that was a joke)).

I'll stop writing bullshit. Here are the projects. Feel free to join and submit any relevant observations. If you would like to be a "manager" or whatever to write journals concerning the topics, message me.

Odonata - anomalies
Odonata - as prey
Odonata - eating
Odonata - emerging complications
Odonata - inter/intraspecies aggression
Odonata - parasitism

There are definitely some other great topics that crowdsourcing would lend itself well to and we could add. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know. Thanks to those who have already contributed in different ways, notably, @beschwar, @sambiology and @greglasley.

Brian

Posted on August 16, 2016 23:29 by briangooding briangooding | 1 observations | 5 comments | Leave a comment

June 21, 2016

William Blair Jr. Park BioBlitz June 2016 - Odonata (adults)

It's a little late but here's my recap of the William Blair Jr. Park BioBlitz from earlier this month.

Sam (@sambiology) recently invited me to a bioblitz out in Dallas at William Blair Jr. Park. I don't go out that way often so I was excited to see a new spot and hopeful of seeing a few species that Dallas County residents but only occasionally seen in Tarrant County.

As I arrived I was ushered in to a makeshift dirt and gravel parking spot and essentially told to hurry up as I put my boots on because "the group was leaving". I was taken aback a bit and didn't quite understand what the guy meant so I just walked toward the tent. They had bug spray, anti-itch cream, hand sanitizer and cold water available and someone asked me my name, then handed me a nametag.

I was looking around for Sam or some other folks I could recognize for iNat and didn't see anybody but I heard a guy say the word dragonfly so I walked toward him. He ended up being Michael Fox (@mchlfx) so that worked out. We chatted for a minute before our "team leader" told us the particular location we would be surveying.

At this point it became clear that I had definitely misinterpreted the purpose of this event (or my purpose in it) and it was meant to be more of a community outreach than a (somewhat) strategic gathering of information. I accepted this and tried to convince some kids to become as fascinated with science as I wish I had become when I was younger. We found some cool stuff and for like 10 seconds I felt like I had a purpose on this earth (hopefully inspire/prevent someone else from getting a liberal arts degree).

Some interesting stuff we saw included a neat crawfish and a female Ischnura ramburii eating a female I. posita. There were lots of Perithemis tenera which was good since they look so shiny and "unique" for kids.

Here's some data:

Anisoptera
1. Anax junius
2. Epitheca princeps
3. Arigomphus submedianus
4. Erythemis simplicicollis
5. Libellula luctuosa
6. Pachydiplax longipennis
7. Perithemis tenera
8. Plathemis lydia
9. Tramea lacerata

Zygoptera
1. Argia apicalis
2. Enallagma civile
3. E. basidens
4. I. posita
5. I. ramburii

I did not see personally, but confirmed observations of the following species:
1. Dromogomphus spoliatus (A)
2. Libellula incesta (A)
3. L. vibrans (A)
4. Ischnura hastata (Z)

As a group we observed four families of Anisoptera (Aeshnidae, Corduliidae, Gomphidae and Libellulidae) containing 10 genera (not going to name them) for a total of 12 dragonfly species. As well we observed one family of Zygoptera (Coenagrionidae), containing three genera (Argia, Enallagma and Ischnura), totalling six damselfly species.

The most common species visible to us were by far Perithemis tenera for the dragonflies and Argia apicalis representing the damselflies. Erythemis simplicicollis, Plathemis lydia and Enallagma civile were also quite common. I would expect to see different species/numbers if I explored more ideal and versatile habitats the park offered. One of reasons for going was to get some shots of the Anax longipes (reported in this county but not in county I live in). I am sure they are in the area because my ex-girlfriend who worked at a school over there once sent me a text in all caps once that just said: CHRISTMAS DARNER. I'm sure for other reasons too...that was just supposed to be funny.

Something about this bioblitz left a bad taste in my mouth and it really didn't seem about science or outreach, more like a mandate given by a superior, fulfilled in name only. To their possible credit, it was the first one in what is supposed to be a quarterly cycle. In any case, it made me think more about the efficacy of bioblitzes and citizen science. Someone's probably wrote about this to death but I just started with this kind of thing so it is new to me. Actually maybe I'll write about it later.

Overall I'm glad I went but more for seeing friends and meeting new people (Ashton, Michael, Brent and Dory), some of whom are interested in going out and doing our own surveys without restriction at different places.

-Brian

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links:
http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/william-blair-jr-park-dallas-park - project page
http://www.inaturalist.org/lists/395462-William-Blair-Jr--Park---Odonata - species list

William Blair Jr. Park BioBlitz - 06.11.16 10:00-12:00.

Posted on June 21, 2016 04:31 by briangooding briangooding | 3 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 18, 2016

Southwest Nature Preserve pond survey - 05.15.16

A few weeks ago Sam (@sambiology) introduced me to Michael Smith (@drawntoscales) of Crosstimbers Connection at the Tandy Hills BioBlitz. After chatting with him for a while Michael invited me to come out to a future pond survey at the Southwest Nature Preserve.

I"d never been to the Southwest Nature Preserve but from looking at it on a map I was excited. When I got there I met Michael and Nic (@nativefishnic, from the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge) who were unloading some equipment for the survey. We headed a very short distance from the parking lot down to the pond and I was pleasantly surprised at what a nice habitat it was.

The pond was kind of swampy with a lightly-wooded area nearby as well as a meadowish area and two other ponds in the vicinity. There was plenty of undisturbed, overgrown vegetation and a large piece of a dead tree partially submerged running along the edge of the pond. Lots of good spots for dragonfly nymphs and lots of good platforms to emerge on.

The first thing I noticed after looking around the area was that Erythemis simplicicollis was everywhere. This continued throughout the observation--the number of visible E. simplicicollis dwarfed every other species, at least by a multiplier of two. There wasn't as much going on over the pond as I thought there would be but it was cloudy and already 15:30 or so. Also a lot of Pachdydiplax longipennis haphazardly bouncing their shiny wings on their first flights. I got a few nice shots I will post later.

While I was walking around the other guys were chest-deep in the mucky pond trying to round up some fish and other creatures. I tried to do my part getting dirty by lifting vegetation near the pond's edge to look for damselfly nymphs clinging to the stems but I came up short. Thankfully Michael found three dragonfly nymphs, at least one of which was P. longipennis. Hopefully with some assistance here we can identify the others.

Here's a list of the adult species seen (alphabetical order, not by density):

Anisoptera
1. Anax junius
2. Epitheca princeps
3. Erythemis simplicicollis
4. Libellula luctuosa
5. Pachydiplax longipennis
6. Perithemis tenera
7. Plathemis lydia
8. Tramea lacerata
9. T. onusta

Zygoptera
1. Argia sedula
2. Enallagma civile
3. E. signatum
4. Ischnura posita
5. I. ramburii

I have an inkling of what species we will see in future surveys that I may have missed this time as well as a number of species I expect to see there as the year progresses. I will post some photos soon.

Thanks to the guys I mentioned earlier and also Brent (@brentano) for coming to hang out and look for some dragonflies even though he was under the weather. Hopefully I will be back soon.

-Brian

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links:
Crosstimbers Connection - http://crosstimbersconnection.org/
Tandy Hills BioBlitz - http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/tandy-hills-natural-area-stratford-park
Southwest Nature Preserve - http://naturallyfun.org/southwest-nature-preserve
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge - http://www.fwnaturecenter.org/

Posted on May 18, 2016 04:28 by briangooding briangooding | 8 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment